It is always dangerous to read too much into the results or tactics of Premier League clubs during pre-season friendlies, but last night Andre Villas-Boas suggested he was considering several interesting options for his Tottenham Hotspur team next year.
Although several first team players were missing, Spurs set up in a 4-3-3 in the 1-1 draw at Swindon Town, and the positions of Gareth Bale and Gylfi Sigurdsson in particular will have garnered interest from Spurs’ fans.
Bale started on the right of an attacking three, cutting inside to score Spurs goal with aplomb on his birthday. The 24-year-old made the switch to the right side of Spurs’ attack with increasing regularity towards the end of last season, and it could be that it becomes his regular starting berth in a 4-3-3 formation.
If Villas-Boas does want to use a three man attack, it requires that both wide attackers chip in with plenty of goals, and Bale might find this easier on the right, cutting inside onto his stronger foot.
Sigurdsson’s role at the head of a midfield three was also notable, as the Icelandic player was often pushed into a wide position last season that he was not completely comfortable with.
If Spurs do line up with a 4-3-3 next year, Sandro, Paulinho and Mousa Dembele are likely to be the first choice trio in midfield, but for all their talents, Sigurdsson brings slightly more creativity and guile to a team, and he could well be used in a central position more regularly.
As pre-season progresses, more players will return to training and Spurs might even sign a couple more, and it will become more apparent how Villas-Boas intends to set up his side. However in Spurs’ first outing of the summer, the Portuguese manager seemed to confirm several expectations about how his team might play next year.
image: © Jan S0L0